How stress, anxiety and tension can harm your skin and age you prematurely

How can stress harm your skin and age you prematurely?

Everyone knows how harmful stress; anxiety and tension are to our health. Besides just making us feel drained, stress can lead to all kinds of illness. But, did you know that stress is a major problem for our skin? Stress can speed up the production of wrinkles, cause acne to flare up and aggravate skin rash problems. Lovely! Now given the choice, wouldn’t we all prefer to look like the model here as oppose to ageing prematurely?! Well the good news is that we can certainly try to! By following the advice contained in this article all of us have that opportunity.


Ageing and wrinkles

Now of course no one wants to speed up ageing, and for those of us who don’t have noticeable fine lines or wrinkles yet, we might not see that stress is ageing our skin. However, chronic stress could be causing your skin to age more quickly in ways you can’t see right now. Think about this, when you are really stressed out, do you change your sleeping habits? Do you change your eating habits?

When you are not eating or sleeping well, these things cause your cells to replicate at a lower speed, which in turn leaves older more worn out cells on your face longer.  Stress can also cause increased inflammation, which reduces collagen and elastic tissue. This causes your skin to become more dry and weak, and more prone to wrinkles.  And, frowning and grimacing (yes – we do it) forces our skin’s connective tissue to break down which leads to premature deep lines.  

So what can we do about it?

Ideally we need to stop stressing out!  However, sometimes that’s not always possible, so we have to find a solution for helping our bodies cope with or heal from stress.

Firstly, start by ensuring that you are getting enough sleep each night (7-8 hours).  Eat a diet that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, plus lots of fruits and veggies, and drink tons of water to keep you hydrated. You can also exercise daily and get a massage.

Spots and breakouts

Whether stress really causes spots and breakouts is still debatable amongst industry experts. However, stress may aggravate it in two ways:

  1. by triggering the adrenal glands to produce more hormones;
  2. by slowing down the body’s natural healing process.

The adrenal glands, which can be found above the kidneys, release the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine. Together with the male hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex under stressful conditions, they provoke the production of excess sebum, which in turn leads to a breakout.

The only way to treat a stress-induced breakout is to reduce your stress levels. It’s vital to improve your general wellness through tension-relieving activities such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, exercise, and massage. Baby your skin too; clean it with a gentle cleanser using your fingers, which are kinder to angry skin than a washcloth.

Rosacea and Eczema  

If your face looks red and blotchy, you develop an itchy rash seemingly out of nowhere, or your skin is so dry that it flakes, stress might be the culprit.  Chronic tension and anxiety can break down your skin’s protective barrier, which makes it harder for it to hold in moisture and fight off irritants. If you already suffer from rosacea or eczema, stress can also kick those conditions into overdrive.

The key to healing prickly, angry skin is to start by quieting your mind. In addition to getting a good night’s sleep every night and eating whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid alcohol and processed, sugar-laden junk, which can increase inflammation. Schedule some time for you. Go to the gym, for a walk, a bike ride; take a warm bath, do some stretches, yoga – anything to lower your stress levels and keep your heart, mind, and skin healthy. You may also want to consider switching to a gentle cleanser and lotion to retain your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

So it is really important to relax. Don’t make yourself sick, don’t age unnecessarily and you don’t wreck your skin. Stress is bad enough without all those nasty side effects! For more information on how stress, anxiety and tension can harm your skin and age you, please complete the contact form.

Leave a Comment